Vadim Shishimarin war crimes trial: Russian soldier sentenced to life in prison

The soldier, Vadim Shishimarin, pleaded guilty to shooting and killing a 62-year-old civilian on the fourth day of the conflict in late February.

Prior to Monday’s ruling, the court had ruled that Shishimarin had committed a “criminal offense” under international humanitarian law.

“[Shishimarin] Alexander Shelipov saw a civilian on the sidewalk, “the court said.” Shishimarin knew that Shelipov was a civilian and unarmed and there was no threat to him – he fired several shots at Shelipov from his single-gun.

“Shelipov’s death was caused by a bullet in the head that shattered his skull,” the court added. Punishment can be appealed within 30 days.

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Prosecutor Andrei Sunyuk raised the possibility of further war crimes trials against Russian troops, saying he hoped Shishimarin’s conviction would send a message.

“I think all other law enforcement agencies will continue to follow the path we have traveled,” he said.

“This will be a good example for other occupiers who may not yet be on our territory but are planning to come,” Suniuk added. “Or those who are here now and are planning to stay and fight. Or maybe they think it’s time to leave for their own area.”

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin was “concerned” about Shishimarin and would look for ways to help him.

“Of course, we are concerned about the fate of our citizens,” Peskov told reporters at a regular conference call.

“We don’t have much opportunity to defend his interests on the ground, because the foreign organization has no real involvement [in Kyiv]. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t consider trying other channels, “Peskov added, without elaborating on which channel he was talking about.

Peskov has previously said that Russia considers the allegations “unacceptable,” “aggressive,” and “staged.”

Speaking Friday, Shishimarin admitted he was responsible for the killings but was “sorry and sincerely remorseful.”

“I was shocked at the time of the incident. I did not want to kill. But it happened and I do not deny it,” he said.

Shishimarin’s lawyer, Viktor Ovsyannikov, argued that although his client was guilty of murder, it was not murder.

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“Shishimarin was in a state of emotional turmoil due to the war situation and the pressure of his commander. Analysis of that situation led me to the conclusion that there was no direct motive for killing Shishimarin,” Ovsyannikov said.

Ovsannikov tried to draw his clients and other Russian soldiers into the Kremlin’s Machiavellian scheme as unintentional pawns.

Ovsannikov said the soldiers were not aware that their actions would result in “mass casualties not only of the army but also of civilians.”

Shishimarin, who appeared in court behind a glass wearing a blue-gray top with a glass head, spoke only on several occasions during the trial.

He said he was “completely guilty” when he entered an appeal on Wednesday and was forced to face his victim’s widow on Thursday.

Shishimarin told him: “I understand you can’t forgive me, but I’m sorry.”

The woman asked the Russian soldier why she had come to Ukraine, asking in vulgar language: “Did you come to save us? From whom? Did you save me from killing my husband?”

“We were instructed to bring our columns, I didn’t know what would happen,” Shishimarin said.

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